Spotlight on… Fife and Tay
Scotland is home to some of the best links golf courses in the world this time of year sees golfers flock to the coast to play their winter golf. The all-year round nature of links courses gives the discerning golfer a chance to extend their season and walk in the footsteps of some of the games founding fathers.
If you are thinking of a golf getaway, Fife and Tay Coasts is renowned for its stunning links courses.
Fife is recognised worldwide as the home and the heart of the ancient game. With St Andrews at its centre has been attracting golfers to its hallowed fairways for over 500 years.
Stretching from Dundee to Montrose the coastline of Angus is dotted with a huge array of links courses with some of the best parkland courses in Scotland based just a little further inland.
Here are some of our top picks…
Perched atop the cliffs that are situated above St. Andrews Bay, Fairmont St. Andrews offers two stunning traditional links golf courses, the Torrance and the Kittocks. In a region famous for being the home of golf, both courses manage to hold their own against the area’s other links courses. The classic Scottish bunkers that are strategically placed throughout provide a formidable test. Golfers should take care from the 14th green to the final hole on the Torrance course as they might find themselves tumbling down the rocky cliffs. The Kitttocks is a long challenging course requiring nerves of steel with many holes running alongside the coastline.
Golf has been played at Leven Links Golf Club since 1846, making it one of the oldest clubs in the world. From the start of the round the golfer will be conscious of the fairways running along the valleys between these old dunes. This makes for superb definition and a true test of links golf as the slopes and bounces of these natural obstacles come into play throughout the round. With arguably the finest finishing hole in Fife, golfers won’t be disappointed with their visit to Leven. Both Leven Thistle and Leven Golfing Society offer fantastic hospitality and first class view over this gem of a links course.
Scotscraig golf club was founded in 1817, making it the 13th oldest club in the world, combining a unique blend of links and heathland golf. Although visitors looking for true links golf courses often overlook Scotscraig, this golf course has always been one of Scotland’s hidden gems. The most memorable hole is the par-4 fourth hole. This tricky hole has a fairway that is well guarded to the left by large bunkers and there is treacherous heathery terrain to the right. It requires accuracy from start to finish, especially to reach the small plateau green.
With stunning views along the Fife Coastline and over the water to Tayside, Crail Golfing Society is situated in a spectacular location. With two fantastic courses, the historic Balcomie Links and newer Craighead Links, there really is something for everyone. Balcomie, which opened in 1895, is a classic links course and was laid out by the old master himself, Tom Morris. The natural landscape serves up challenges in all shapes and sizes. With a great mixture of short and long holes, the par 69 layout may look like a soft touch – but underestimate at your pearl. Craighead Links was opened in 1999 and was designed by Gil Hanse (designer of the Olympic Course for the recent Rio Games.) The par 72 layout is a great addition to the Crail golfing experience. Great views across the Firth of Forth are to be enjoyed from almost every hole with the finest view being from the putting surface at 7. Take a moment, stand back and enjoy the view!
The Medal Course at Montrose Links is a majestic layout in the true traditions of Scottish links golf and has played host to many important events in its history. Located on the links between the town of Montrose and the coast, the Montrose Medal Golf Course is recognised as the fifth oldest golf course in the world with Golf having been played on the Medal Course since at least 1562. The course challenges golfers with its undulating fairways and fast greens, made more difficult when the wind whips inland from the sea.
Monifieth Medal Course offers terrific views and challenging play for golfers at every skill level. Well-groomed fairways and greens keep the Medal course difficult yet friendly, and the staff can offer tips and tricks for playing your best round. The finishing hole, a shallow dog-leg par five around a prominent bunker on the inner elbow, is a fine closing hole and whilst it may present a birdie opportunity for some, trouble lurks throughout its 530 yards. The Medal course is an excellent choice for your regular rounds of golf or a new destination for you and friends when visiting Dundee.
Anstruther Golf Club has a prime shorefront location with stunning views that stretch past Anstruther Harbor to the Isle of May. It began as a seven-hole golf course but throughout the years has expanded into a challenging nine-hole layout. The demanding fifth hole, also known as the ‘Rockies,’ is touted as being one of the toughest par 3s in the UK. This difficult risk-reward hole will definitely make or break your score.